Class of 2012
BS Applied Computer Science, BA Mathematics
From student to alumna to faculty in one major step. Make that two major steps. When Alyssa Marinaccio graduated from Keene State College in May of 2012, she walked away with two degrees: a BS in Applied Computer Science and BA Mathematics. But she didn't walk far. Alyssa made the transition from student to faculty seamlessly, beginning her professional career as Assistive Technology Coordinator at Keene State, a position that was created for her and essentially because of her.
"My career path was a little unconventional for a typical Computer Science major," Alyssa explains. "In my senior year, realized that I was good at Computer Science and Math, but my personality wasn’t made for a cubicle job. I started to panic. I'd do anything not to end up in a cubicle, so I thought of other ways to apply my skills."
Being very involved with the Office of Disability Services because of her own learning disability, Alyssa and the staff at ODS put together an internship that allowed her to research assistive technology. As Alyssa describes it, assistive technology includes a variety of devices that students with disabilities use to help them perform tasks that would otherwise be virtually impossible.
During her internship, Alyssa built a web site that archived free and low cost resources for students to download. She says, "It's been a huge hit and helpful for so many students to get started with technology! Throughout my internship I realized that this is a great way to combine my technology skills with a true passion for helping students."
From there, Alyssa was offered a summer job with ODS as their Assistive Technology Specialist. This was a new position and, therefore, offered freedom to shape the role and decide what would be most beneficial. As the summer went on, it became apparent how crucial this position was since technology is playing such a significant role in helping students with disabilities achieve success.
Alyssa continues to achieve her own success. "This semester I've had the absolutely amazing opportunity of becoming an adjunct professor and teaching a Quantitative Literacy course at KSC. It's been a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be more thankful to have been given this opportunity. Having just graduated, I feel like I can really relate to my students. The best part is I still have the support and mentorship from the professors who have supported me every step of the way as a student and now during my first teaching experience."
A sage piece of advice that Alyssa shares with students is simple: Get involved! "I know it's cliché but it cannot be more true. My first two years of college I was shy. It wasn’t until I was inducted into the Math Honor Society that I really started to become involved. Once I realized the amazing feeling of being a part of something and having an impact on others, I couldn’t stop. My last two years of college I didn’t let an opportunity pass me by. I’m so thankful I smartened up and took charge of my college experience."
Second, and equally important, Alyssa says, "Get involved in your department and allow the professors to support you throughout your journey. You’ll learn quickly that networking is essential if you want to excel in your field, and your professors are a great place to start. Take the support and wisdom your professors have to offer and you'll go places."
To learn more about Assistive Technology, visit ods.keene.edu.